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Duke men's basketball 2019-20 player review: Wendell Moore Jr.

Moore's buzzer-beater to beat North Carolina in February will go down as one of the most iconic shots in Duke history.
Moore's buzzer-beater to beat North Carolina in February will go down as one of the most iconic shots in Duke history.

Wendell Moore Jr. 

Season breakdown: Wendell Moore Jr. carved his name forever into the hearts of every Blue Devil fan Feb. 8 at the Dean Smith Center. 

The moment was picturesque. Near the free throw line, Tre Jones was still in his one-legged shooting form. All the Tar Heels on and off the floor were motionless. As the ball deviated from a perfect trajectory, Moore, seemingly the only moving figure in a frozen time frame, rose up and put in the buzzer-beater. That night, the Charlotte native delivered his best college performance with 17 points and 10 rebounds in the biggest rivalry of his home state.

But the top in-state recruit’s freshman year, interrupted by a mid-season injury, was not as ideal as his game-winner. In fact, Moore’s performance this season was like a moon cycle. 

Once in a while, he turned into the versatile Swiss Army knife he was projected to be. Three times this season the freshman contributed at least 10 points, three rebounds, three assists and three steals in a game. Most other nights he retreated from the spotlight and supported the other Blue Devils. Then there were the games he just disappeared: Moore scored less than five points in 11 outings and converted a total of 10 field goals in 52 attempts within this sample of 11 games. 

Results relative to expectations:  Moore’s stat line is close to what the Blue Zone projected before the season. He validated his reputation as an intelligent and mobile defender that can guard multiple positions. He also proved to be capable of handling the ball and facilitating plays from time to time, but there are more questions to be answered moving forward. Can he become more reliable and consistent, instead of operating on moon cycles? Can he develop a respectable stroke from the perimeter? As a wing, Moore shot the second-lowest percentage from the perimeter this year. Will he limit his turnovers and make better decisions when driving into the lane? In just 24 minutes per contest, Moore committed 2.4 turnovers per game, the team's second most. 

The 6-foot-6 forward has plenty to work on if he wants to be more than just a one shot legend.

Stay tuned to the Blue Zone for our continuing player reviews. Previous players previewed include Alex O’Connell, Joey Baker, Jack White, Javin DeLaurier, Jordan Goldwire and Justin Robinson.


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